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What happens when you give 100 homeless people disposable cameras? True works of art.

These stunning works of art give us a glimpse at what it's like to be homeless in London.

What happens when you give 100 homeless people disposable cameras? True works of art.

In July 2015, a London art group gave 100 cameras to members of the city's homeless population.

The organization, called Cafe Art, is dedicated to empowering those affected by homelessness to express themselves through art and photography.

For their latest project, the group distributed 100 disposable cameras to homeless Londoners along with some basic photography training courtesy of the Royal Photographic Society.


Each photographer had 27 shots, and they made them count. Photo from Cafe Art.

Photographers were asked to take photos centered around the theme "My London."

Of the 100 cameras, 80 were returned and roughly 2,500 photos were processed. Of those, 20 photos were selected to be included in an upcoming 2016 calendar.

Calendar cover photo by ROL.

The group has been putting out calendars since 2012, and they have raised nearly $70,000 in the process.

All money raised from calendar sales is reinvested back into the project — to cover printing costs, to pay the photographers, to buy art supplies, and to cover the cost of classes.

January 2016: "Tyre Break, Hackney" by Desmond Henry.

The 2016 calendar preorders are underway on the group's Kickstarter page.

Just days after launch, they'd more than doubled their target of a little more than $7,000. Once the calendar is released on Oct. 12 (two days after World Homelessness Day), it'll sell for $15.40.

February 2016: "Everything I Own or Bags of Life, Strand" by David Tovey.

More than 7,500 people in London slept on the streets during 2014-2015.

Across England, around 112,000 people reported having battled homelessness. While these numbers are relatively low compared to, say, New York City, which saw its homeless population hit a record high of more than 59,000 people earlier this year, it's not the number that matters but the people who make it up.

Homelessness can stigmatize and dehumanize this vulnerable population.

June 2016: "Colour Festival, Olympic Park" by Goska Calik.

By providing insight into their lives, Cafe Art helps fight stigma surrounding the homeless population.

When we're able to see the world through someone else's eyes, we can better empathize with what they're going through. By providing an outlet for a marginalized group — in this case, people experiencing homelessness — Cafe Art is helping to connect them to a world in which they might not feel welcome.

September 2016: "Left Boot, East London" by Ellen Rostant.

Want to learn more? Check out this video below featuring interviews with Cafe Art organizers and photographers.

True

Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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Did you know that the simple act of smiling can trick your brain into feeling better, improve your health, and even help you live longer? It's true. Science says.

If you're looking for a reason to smile, here are ten of them.

1. The way this grandma says, "I'm so happy to see you!"

A young woman shared that her grandma always comes to check on her when she hasn't come out of her room for a while. "You want some food???" This is just too wholesome. Watch the whole thing.


2. These two geese were mesmerized by a man playing harmonica in a Taipei park.

Qiqi and Fanfan are into it, y'all. Listen to them try to join in a few times.

3. Ryan Reynolds and a special guest singing six-part harmony? Yes, please.

The Grace Kelly TikTok challenge had people singing the chorus to Mika's 2007 song "Grace Kelly" with various harmonies. I won't give away the cameo here, in case you haven't seen it yet. So fun. Read more about it here.

4. This dad knew his daughter was a prankster, and yet she managed to trick him anyway.

Aryanna's got skills. Dad knows she's got skills. The way he immediately looks all around for traps and still gets surprised. That grin on her face, too. So dang funny. Read the full story here.

5. Norm MacDonald's heartwarming advice to a fan who lost his mother.

The iconic comedian's passing at 61 came as a surprise, but his advice for how to handle grief is a lesson for us all: "Take all the love you have for her, Pablo, and give it freely to all that you meet. Your mom will look down upon you, happy and proud."

6. A Portland cat cafe reopened, and all the cats up for adoption got homes in less than a day.

First of all, the cafe is called Purrington's. I mean, come on. Second of all, it's a cafe where you can hang out with cats that need homes, which is awesome. The cafe had hit some snags in recent years with COVID restrictions and whatnot, but on the day of its reopening, every cat got a home. Yay for the kitties. Read the full story here.


7. This is seriously the greatest "walk of shame" I've ever seen.

At first, you're thinking, "Why is that guy walking into a park pond?" Then it's, "Ooooh. I see." Then finally, "OMG that right there is what living life to its fullest looks like."

8. The U.S. is reportedly buying 500 million more vaccines to donate to the rest of the world.

We're all in this together, literally. The only way we're going to get the pandemic under control is to make sure everyone has access to COVID vaccines. The need is great, but we're stepping up to help meet it. Love to see the U.S. taking leadership on this front.

Read the full story here.

Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash


9. New Zealand firefighters offer a Haka to honor the first responders who perished on 9/11.

Okay, this one might make you smile and cry at the same time. Such a beautiful offering and reminder of how connected we all are.

10. Watch this street photographer help an elderly Italian woman see her own beauty.

Dino Serrao's TikTok channel is the place to go when you want to be reminded of the unique beauty in every human being. All of his videos are great, but this one is so heartwarming. Their interaction is so sweet, but her recognizing her own gorgeousness after initially telling him she didn't want her picture taken is just wonderful.


I hope that brought a little joy and hope into your day! Come back to Upworthy again next Friday for ten more reasons to smile. :)